Knox grew up helping out on his family’s farm in Marion. Until recently, the family owned cattle, and Knox’s duties included mowing and baling hay and sorting, worming and vaccinating the cows.
Nowadays, the work on the farm consists mostly of keeping up the fences and other structures, Knox said. That’s good news for the Crittenden County High School senior, as he has plenty on his plate already.
Robert Knox, son of Dennis and Donna Knox, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees whom guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois submit to the Sun. Mid-Continent University will provide each Teen of the Week with a $2,500 annual scholarship to its university, which is renewable for four years. In the spring, a Teen of the Year will be chosen from the weekly winners. The Teen of the Year is eligible for a full four-year scholarship to Mid-Continent University or a cash award of $2,500, paid through the Paducah Sun, if the student selects another college to attend.
Knox has been involved in baseball, basketball and football since elementary school, and now serves as captain of his school’s football team. Knox estimated that he spends three hours a day practicing football — not including the lifting and other training required in the spring — and says the grueling practices pay off.
“It’s just the adrenaline rush you get from making a big play,” he said. “It’s worth it.”
Knox admitted he prefers playing sports to studying, but that hasn’t kept him from maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average throughout high school. He said his parents and coaches push him to keep his grades up, while his tight circle of friends help support him.
Academic success can be difficult when games stretch until 10 or 11 p.m., but Knox has learned to manage his time well enough to reach the top of his class.
“I just try to get as much done during the school day as possible,” said Knox, who also serves as president of the Sportsmen Club and participates in the FFA. “(I work) after games, before school — whatever it takes.”
Knox has received just as many awards for his academic achievements as he has for his athletic prowess. He was selected to attend the five-week Governor’s Scholars Program last year, where he studied psychology and helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity.
Knox hopes to make practical use of his love for sports, studying exercise science at Murray State University next fall. The student said the best lesson he’s learned from playing sports is how to break down mental barriers.
“Your mind will give out before your body does. You can always push yourself harder than you think. And don’t quit,” he said.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641.